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Kei Kamara PK fiasco could make striker last-minute trade bait


In the 52nd minute of Saturday’s 4-4 draw between the Montreal Impact and Columbus Crew SC, we witnessed one of the more entertaining and disturbing moments you’ll see on a penalty kick.

Columbus duo Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain each made it known that they wanted to step up to the spot and take the penalty kick. Eventually Higuain took it and scored, however, the team’s glaring collapse after leading 4-1 was the least of their worries by the end of the night.

According to Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Wahl, Columbus is now seeking a last minute trade for Kamara, a DP striker.

As Wahl alludes to on Twitter, moving a DP is difficult enough because MLS limits its teams to three, but now teams also must consider this tirade as a forewarning for any potential buyer.

According to head coach Greg Berhalter, the team announced on Tuesday that Kamara will be suspended one match for his handling of the PK situation in front of the media during postgame interviews.

Kamara is coming off of in what most years would have been an MVP season, had it not been for the brilliance of Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco. The 31-year-old Kamara notched 22 goals and added eight assists in 2015, and has already scored five goals in nine matches this season.

The MLS primary trade deadline closes on Wednesday, giving Columbus very little time to work with in this situation.

Who would entertain taking on Kamara though?

As it stands, there are seven MLS teams that could potentially add Kamara as a DP acquisition. Those teams are D.C. United, Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.

For the sake of argument though, we’ll consider all potential routes, especially since a DP for DP swap would be the most likely scenario in completing a deal.

The favorites

Chicago Fire: It may sound off, but Chicago does have someone that they could offer in return to Columbus. Gilberto has been a well-traveled forward, and another move would be his third in two seasons, but he could make an easy transition into a potent Crew attack. While he has yet to find the back of the net in 2016, Gilberto is five years younger than Kamara and has produced in his brief time in MLS.

D.C. United: With 11 goals in 10 games and a massive dip in form since the halfway point of 2015, D.C. is in desperate need of a lift. While Kamara’s locker room and now on-field antics are certainly a concern, head coach Ben Olson could be managing for his job this season so the move would at least give fans something to be hopeful for.

Interesting, but probably not

Atlanta United FC: For a team that has yet to officially make their MLS debut, this would be quite the story to kick off their franchise. Atlanta doesn’t have any DPs registered to their roster, so that wouldn’t be an issue. What they would be doing though is taking on a contract for a player that cannot contribute in 2016. The team could potentially loan Kamara out to another MLS side or abroad if possible, but this scenario is a bit of a stretch.

Philadelphia Union: Currently sitting third in the East, a move like this could either send the Union over the top with talent or cause them to fold like a cheap tent. For the sake of argument, Philadelphia has two open DP slots and scoring hasn’t necessarily come at a premium this season. The team has been stout defensively so adding Kamara into the mix with C.J. Sapong and company up front could do the trick in making this squad elite.

Long shot

Sporting Kansas City: Head coach Peter Vermes tends to stray away from high-profile foreign internationals and this may be the same instance. Given Kamara’s checkered past when it comes to getting along in the locker room, it’s probably not going to be on the team’s mind to go after the veteran. That being said, the potential tandem of he and Dom Dwyer would immediately be one of the top attacking duos in the league and likely bolster an SKC team that has gone winless in their last six matches.

New York City FC: David Villa and Kamara sounds pretty tasty as a front two tandem. How would it get done though? NYCFC currently has three DPs, one of which is occupied by the Spaniard. There isn’t much value in Columbus looking to acquire Andrea Pirlo or Frank Lampard, unless they are extremely desperate to trade Kamara. Another potential scenario would be to trade Mix Diskerud and/or Kwadwo Poku, the team’s two top assets. That would require some maneuvering of finances though to buy down Kamara’s contract with Target Allocation Money, and that would be tricky to say the least.

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PFA explains position as players urged to take pay cuts

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The Professional Footballers Association is explaining why it has not yet accepted deferred pay cuts during the coronavirus suspension, and the English government is not withholding its opinion.

As non-playing staff accept furloughs or worse across the tiers of English football and players in other European nations accept pay cuts, the PFA has not found an arrangement to its liking.

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Health secretary Matthew Hancock addressed the situation in his daily public briefing.

From Sky Sports:

“Given the sacrifices people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS, who have made the ultimate sacrifice and gone into work and caught the disease and have sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution; take a pay cut and play their part.”

That’s a heavy statement, one that surely resonates with all.

The PFA issued a post on its site that runs up nearly 1000 words on its position, stating that a big part of its concern is representing League One and League Two players. Those members do not receive the massive pay packets of PL stars.

Basically, what the PFA is requesting is time to make an educated decision considering the books and futures of every club are different. They’d like to see those books to make sure that if players are making a sacrifice that shareholders are as well.

From ThePFA.com:

We fully accept that players will have to be flexible and share the financial burden of the COVID-19 outbreak in order to secure the long-term future of their own club and indeed the wider game. Our advice going out to players at this point reflects that expectation.

In addition, the PFA is also expecting to contribute financially to any solutions agreed upon.

Like everyone else in the country, we are trying to deal with a situation that has never been faced. Our spirits have been lifted seeing communities come together to support each other. We have been proud to see many of our own members and clubs step up to support the NHS, to help children who would usually benefit from free school meals, donating to food banks and other charitable donations to those affected by this crisis. Much of this has been done privately and without publicity.

Obviously there will be a resolution to this soon, but it’s a complex and layered situation. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe became the first PL boss to take a voluntary pay cut on Wednesday, with Brighton’s Graham Potter following suit.

Burning question: Who is your guilty pleasure team?

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be asking some burning questions we have when it comes to the beautiful game and the next one focuses on something we all have: a team we like that we don’t want to admit.

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Each day we will release a burning question, as now seems like a good time to take stock of where the game is at and take a look at what we love and what we’d like to change as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Next question: Who is your guilty pleasure team?

Think about it. You don’t have to admit it out loud if you don’t want to. We all have one. Admit it.

There’s a team out there you have dismissed to your friends, family and maybe random strangers on social media but secretly, when nobody else is with you, you watch them play and admire them.

That said team are your guilty pleasure.

It’s okay to admit it. Honest. There will be no judgement here because we are all in the same boat.

It can be a team from the same league as your team, or a club from another league in another country, or just, you know, a team that people aside from you despise.

A lot of the big boys bring up polarizing views as many neutrals loath mega clubs who win trophies season after season and scoff at their huge wage bill, well-manicured stadiums and incredible commercial success. ‘This isn’t proper football’ you often cry. Deep down, you admire some of those teams, don’t you?

It would be remiss of me to ask you to reveal your guilty pleasure team in the comments below our via our social media post on Twitter without revealing my own so here it goes.

Atletico Madrid.

For years I’ve been an admirer of Atletico, way back when Diego Simeone was a player for them in midfield and they won the 1995-96 La Liga title with a huge ‘MARBELLA’ sponsor logo on their baggy shirts, as they also won the Copa del Rey that season to bring utter delight to the Vicente Calderon stadium after a 19-year wait for the league title.

A lot has changed since then and Atleti have become a polarizing team for becoming the ultimate masters of the dark arts with a squad of players who are perfectly happy with putting all of their personal talent to one side to play as a destructive, defensive, winning team.

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Simeone’s antics may not be the prettiest (the vision of one of his crotch-pulsing celebrations are now etched into your head forever) and he may tell his players to stretch the rules as far as they possibly can on the field, but I respect the hustle. Simeone has always been this way, from his reaction to David Beckham’s kick in the 1998 World Cup in his playing days to his cojones celebration, he has pushed the boundaries. After being forced to rebuild his team almost on a yearly basis since he took charge in 2011 as he’s lost star after star (Aguero, Costa, Falcao and Griezmann to name a few), he forces his players into punishing hill runs each summer and expects nothing but 100 percent effort each and every time they step on the pitch.

It was recently revealed El Cholo was the highest-paid manager in the world and you can’t argue that he doesn’t deserve it.

I respect that somehow Atletico have now become competitive amid the utter dominance of Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spanish soccer for pretty much the last six decades. Since he took charge they have won three Europa League titles, the La Liga title in 2014 and reached two UEFA Champions League finals (losing both to Real in 2014 and 2016) as well as ousting defending champs Liverpool in the UCL in dramatic fashion to reach the last eight this season. Cue more Simeone celebrations.

The next time you watch Atletico Madrid play, imagine me sat alone somewhere in a dark room with a bowl of peanuts and a beer, nodding my head like that famous Jack Nicholson gif from Anger Management.

Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid are the masters of shithousery.

‘That’s right, Diego Costa, you flick his ear off the ball’ and ‘look at Simeone screaming at the home fans in disgust when they boo an Atletico player for getting a tactical yellow. Give it to them!’ will be likely comments from myself.

I’ve aired my dirty laundry in public. Now, feel free to do the same and tell us which team is your guilty pleasure.

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Transfer news: James to Everton; Meunier to Man United

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The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

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First up, Everton are said to be interested in signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. The Colombian star previously played for Carlo Ancelotti at Real and Bayern Munich, as he helped the former win the UEFA Champions League in 2015-16 and 2016-17 after arriving from Monaco following a sensational 2014 World Cup.

According to Marca, James is keen on a move to England and Real want to sell him this summer as he has just one year left on his contract. Per the report Ancelotti tried to sign James last summer when he was in charge at Napoli and although Arsenal and Wolves are also interested, Everton are the frontrunners.

James spent two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich before returning to Real for 2019-20 where he has been a bit-part player for Zinedine Zidane.

His quality on the ball is undoubted and at the age of 28 he is hitting his prime and Ancelotti certainly knows how to get the best out of James, who put up his best numbers at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2014-15 (17 goals in 46 games in all competitions) under the Italian coach.

Where would he slot in at Everton? Probably as the second striker or No. 10 which would mean stiff competition for Gylfi Sigurdsson who has become the chief creator for Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has not been shy in splashing the cash and Ancelotti has had a huge impact during his first few months in charge of the Toffees, strengthening his case to be given money to spend in the next transfer window to improve his young, raw squad.

Time to add the duo of Ancelotti-James to Mourinho-Matic, Redknapp-Defoe and Moyes-Fellaini manager-player partnerships.

Switching the focus from Merseyside to Manchester, another piece of transfer news has been reported that Man United are keen on signing Belgium international Thomas Meunier.

Meunier, 28, has yet to sign a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain and according to French outlet Le Foot, the Red Devils have joined AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund in ‘keeping a lookout’ on the right-sided player who becomes a free agent this summer.

An attacking right back, Meunier is just as comfortable playing as an out-and-out winger and his arrival would not only give them cover at right back for Aaron Wan-Bissaka but also give them an option at right wing. His experience with Belgium and PSG is undoubted and his quality passing and crossing from wide areas will surely provide Man United’s star attackers plenty of service. Meunier previously said his main aim is to stay at PSG, where he’s been since arriving from Club Brugge in 2016 as he’s won eight domestic trophies with the reigning French champions.

Meunier has also previously stated in the Belgian media that he is a fan of Man United, so perhaps that gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side the edge. He would fill a need and a free transfer would certainly be welcome after splashing out over $280 million to sign Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes and Wan-Bissaka over the last 12 months.

VIDEO: Arlo White’s best Premier League calls

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Arlo White’s voice has been missed by Premier League fans across the USA in recent weeks, so this video of his best calls will keep you going for a while.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Click play on the video above as some of the craziest goals and moments in the Premier League have been beautifully described by NBC’s lead soccer commentator.

His magical command of the English language is on full show across 15 minutes of Arlo commentating on plenty of wild Liverpool goals, Leicester City’s incredible title win and plenty of upset victories from the last seven seasons of the Premier League.

Enjoy a trip down memory lane with Arlo and in the comments below let us know your favorite calls from his time behind the mic with NBC Sports over the last few years.